Base Gagetown court docket martial hears totally different variations of occasions from complainant, accused

Base Gagetown court docket martial hears totally different variations of occasions from complainant, accused
A man wears a dark green army dress uniform, wearing a beret and corporal strikes.
Cpl. Steven O’Dell, a soldier at Base Gagetown, is charged with sexually assaulting a feminine soldier whereas on a coaching excercise in 2018. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Totally different tales have emerged throughout a court docket martial in New Brunswick of a soldier accused of sexually assaulting a colleague throughout a coaching train in 2018.

Cpl. Steven O’Dell, 29, is charged below the Nationwide Defence Act with sexual assault.

The offence is alleged to have occurred between Nov. 1 and 22, 2018, close to Summerside, P.E.I. 

The complainant, whose id is protected by a publication ban, mentioned she and O’Dell had been behind a light-armoured car with three different troopers. She mentioned the car was filled with gear for the train, so O’Dell was compelled to sit down on the ground. She mentioned her legs had been prolonged over him and resting on a pile of kit. She mentioned her legs didn’t contact him.

She mentioned her eyes had been closed and he or she was resting when she felt O’Dell’s fingers on the within of her knee and journey up her thigh to her “vagina.” 

She mentioned she batted his hand away and confronted him about what he was doing. 

She mentioned they received the all-clear proper after that and everybody exited the car. 

O’Dell, who informed the court docket he is from the south coast of Labrador, took the stand on Tuesday afternoon with a unique model of what occurred. 

Military officer in his uniform standing outside courthouse.
Main Max Reede is the army’s prosecutor within the court docket martial being held this week at Base Gagetown. (Mia Urquhart/CBC)

He mentioned the car was not filled with gear and that there have been seven folks within the again, not 4. Not one of the folks O’Dell named matched the folks the complainant recognized as being behind the car. His description of the light-armoured car additionally differed drastically from the complainant’s. 

She mentioned one bench of seats was so filled with materials that nobody may sit there, whereas he mentioned there have been no benches in any respect. He mentioned there have been “blast seats” they usually did not have something piled on them. 

O’Dell mentioned he went to sleep on the ground however was woke up when the complainant put her foot on his penis. He mentioned he moved her foot, however she put it again a short while later. 

He mentioned he put his hand on the thigh of the complainant and the soldier seated subsequent to her to drag himself up and depart the car. With a lot gear and with so little area, he mentioned he would not have been capable of pull himself up with out doing so. 

O’Dell testified that the lady requested him, “Aren’t you interested in me?”

He mentioned he informed her he wasn’t searching for any type of relationship and left the car — about quarter-hour earlier than the all-clear was given. 

Wentzell requested O’Dell particularly if he touched the complainant’s vagina. He mentioned no. He mentioned he grabbed onto her for leverage above the knee “and that is so far as it went.” 

He was requested if he had any intention of touching her vagina and he mentioned, “No, completely not.” 

O’Dell mentioned he was in a common-law relationship on the time with a lady who now his fiancée. 

3IC testifies

The defence opened its case on Tuesday by calling Grasp Cpl. Matthew McLellan, who was the third answerable for the group that included O’Dell and the complainant. He was additionally the primary soldier to listen to in regards to the lady’s criticism. 

He mentioned he reported the incident “up the chain of command” and by the following morning, McLellan and his superior met with O’Dell to get his facet of the story. He mentioned “their tales had been truly fairly related.” 

McLellan mentioned the complainant did not wish to take the difficulty any additional. She simply did not wish to need to work with O’Dell for the remainder of the train. McLellan informed the court docket that he and his superiors made positive they did not.

He mentioned nothing extra got here of the incident till March 2021, when he was interviewed by the Nationwide Investigation Service. 

To date, witnesses have not defined what seems to be a two-year delay within the investigation.

In his opening handle to the panel, army prosecutor Maj. Max Reede mentioned the lady wasn’t interviewed by the army police till two years after the incident, though he did not specify why or how the army police received concerned.

O’Dell selected to be tried by a panel of his army friends. The court docket martial started on Monday with 5 members, however was diminished to 4 after one member needed to depart due to a household emergency.

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